Do You Have Any Legal Protection against a Pay Cut?
You work hard to provide a good life for yourself and for your family. You’ve always put forth 100% on the job, and seem to have a great relationship with your employer. Then one day, your employer calls you in to tell you that you’ll be taking a cut in pay. Maybe the company has fallen on hard times. Maybe your employer is unhappy that you complained about something. Can your employer simply decide unilaterally to reduce your pay? Under what circumstances might that be considered illegal or wrongful?
The Concept of Employment-at-Will—How It Can Affect Your Pay
If you’re like most workers in the United States, you don’t work under a collective bargaining agreement and you haven’t signed an employment contract. If that’s the case, you are considered to be an employee at will. Most importantly, that means that you or your employer can terminate the employment arrangement at any time and for any reason without penalty. It also means, though, that you have no contractual relationship with your employer. Accordingly, because there’s no enforceable provision governing how much you earn, your employer can make prospective changes to your salary or hourly wage at any time and for any reason.
When Is It Illegal for Your Employer to Reduce Your Pay?
There are some basic rules that apply, even if you are an employee-at-will:’
- Any pay cuts will only apply to hours worked in the future. Your employer cannot choose to reduce your pay for hours you have already worked.
- Your employer must notify you of any reduction in pay before you work any time at the new rate.
- Your employer may not reduce your pay in retaliation for any legal act that you’ve done, such as filing a work comp claim, taking FMLA leave or reporting unethical behavior by your employer
- Your employer may not cut your pay for any reason that would be considered “discriminatory.”
- Your employer may not reduce your pay to a level that falls below minimum wage
- Your employer may not stop paying you because you have turned in your two-week notice
What If You Have an Employment Contract or Are Covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement?
Your employer may not lower your wages or salary if doing so is expressly or impliedly a violation of either a valid and enforceable employment agreement or a collective bargaining agreement.
Contact the Aggressive Employment Law Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the challenges you can face in the workplace. We have a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of employment and labor law, and can help you quickly determine if your rights have been violated. If you experienced a reduction in your salary or hourly wage, and believe that your employer may have done so illegally, we can help. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective employment law attorney, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.